MY 13 VAN: Registration Unlucky For Some?

by Paul Forrest on 31 Aug, 2012

Superstitious motorists hoping that the UK Government may extend the vehicle licence plate ‘62’ registration, about to be introduced from the 1st September 2012, for another six months, thereby avoiding the need to purchase vehicles with a ’13’ registration, are going to be out of luck. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is to go ahead with the unwelcome year plate from March 2013 as scheduled.

Vehicle buyers who may not themselves be worried about the stigma of bad luck attached to the number thirteen may still be reluctant to buy a new vehicle during the spring or summer due to the perceived negative effect on the potential sell-on value of any vehicle bearing the dreaded ‘13’ registration. The only way to avoid the “unlucky for some” number thirteen on a new vehicle number plate will be to cough up an extra £250 for a private registration. This may be all right for large fleet buyers but “white van man” already struggling with increased fuel and parking fees, will be reluctant to part with hard-to-come-by cash on such a perceived luxury.

According to a survey conducted by the Automobile Association (AA), almost a third of car buyers will think twice about purchasing a new vehicle bearing the ’13’ registration. Edmund King, president of the AA, tried to put a positive spin on the suggestion that drivers may be worried about vehicles with a ‘13’ number plate being more likely to be involved in a road accident. “The flip side is that they drive more carefully and look after the car better,” Mr King stressed.

It is not clear whether the ‘13’ registration will impact on insurance premiums. Vehicle owners seeking the best van insurance rates should shop around. As always, drivers should look at what exactly they are getting for their money when comparing van insurance quotes.

The Irish Government is expected to introduce a two-tier registration system for 2013. Vehicles registered between 1 January and 30th June will bear the year indicator of 131, while those registered in the latter half of the year will carry the number 132. Although this would appear to be in contrast to the UK Government’s decision, the Director General of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), Alan Nolan insists that the change is solely to introduce a bi-annual system, currently operated in the United Kingdom.

So what is all the fuss about with the number thirteen? Why is it considered unlucky? There is even a phobia connected with the unlucky number; it goes by the name of (deep breath) triskaidekaphobia.

There is a myth that suggests the earliest reference to thirteen being evil relates to the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, dating from approximately 1780 BC. It was believed that the thirteenth law was deliberately omitted. The fact is, however, that the original code was not numerated.

Some Christians believe that the origin of triskaidekaphobia refers to the Last Supper, where it is suggested that Judas was the thirteenth to sit at the table. The Bible, however, does not document the order in which the apostles took their seats.

There are many other theories as to why thirteen is considered unlucky. In Norse mythology, Loki was the thirteenth god; he was believed to have arranged the murder of Balder and was the thirteenth guest to arrive at the funeral. This may have led to the superstition that if thirteen people meet together, one will die the following year. French nobles would hire themselves out as the fourteenth diner in order to prevent the occasion of thirteen at a table, one of whom would be expected to subsequently perish.

Those of us not of a superstitious nature could well benefit, should we be looking for a used vehicle in two or three years’ time. There could be some bargains to be had among ‘13’ registered vehicles. Just to be on the safe side though, it may be wise to avoid buying on Friday 13th, touch wood.

About the Author

Paul Forrest

Paul Forrest is an experienced writer in many fields of interest and we are delighted that he will now be a regular contributor to in 2012.